Imagine the world’s greatest politically charged protest songs, pop the edgy, powerful vocals of Sophie Urista and delicious brass instruments over the top, and you have Brooklyn’s Brass Against.
The band has formed to stand up against the machine in this politically challenging era, creating powerful music that inspires people, resonates with their emotions and encourages them to act. As a trumpet player and a rock and metal lover, this just hits the note on so many levels.
Band leader and guitarist Brad Hammonds tells us the band came about in light of a certain American president coming to the fore. As he explains: “When Trump started garnering support I felt like we needed Rage Against the Machine more than ever. I wanted to do something with their tunes that was really big – to make a statement.
“After meeting up with Andrew Gutauskas (musical director/ Baritone Saxophone) and running through a few Rage songs we felt like these tunes would sound amazing with a brass section. We did a video for Bombtrack and kept going. It’s such a blast to pick tunes that sound epic with a brass section and see them come to life. Come sit in with us!”
The band ranges from anywhere between seven and ten members, incorporating two trumpets, two trombones, baritone sax, guitar, Sousaphone, vocals and drums, and have had at least 23 contributors thus far. More info on their full collective is here.
To date, Brass Against has put its own spin on a series of Rage tracks – including Wake Up, Guerilla Radio and Sleep Now In The Fire – as well as Audioslave’s Cochise, the recently released Lateralus by Tool, and Living Colour’s Cult Of Personality, which came to life in their debut, self-titled album earlier this year. For an idea of just how awesome this is, check out their video for Killing In The Name below:
And if that wasn’t enough, then how about Cochise below:
On the tracks they choose to give their unique twist, Brad explains: “I usually come up with the idea for the songs – and its really based on a hunch on which tunes will sound cool with our band, and mostly carry the message we’re hoping to deliver (question everything).
“I grew up with bands like Rage, Tool (and all things Maynard), Audioslave, Soundgarden etc… so love doing those bands. We also did Run the Jewels and Beyonce – so are constantly looking for songs that might work. I don’t want to give away any of the tunes but we have some killer videos planned with more Rage, Tool and a lot of new ones. We’re also hoping to collaborate with hip-hop artists in the future.”
The even better news is that you can see Brass Against for yourself as they play their debut UK show as part of a European tour next year. They’ll be playing Under The Bridge in Chelsea on 25 February. Tickets are available now here, and more info on their tour is here.
As Brad tells us: “We enjoy doing the videos but playing live is where we really try to bring out all the stops! We absolutely love playing these songs live and are beyond excited to tour Europe. Every show we try and bring an experience and include the audience in our collective.
“We curate the live show to hopefully inspire people – whether that’s to vote, give to charity or just escape it all for an evening. With the brass, we try and create something really big and have found our fans connect with us and one another!”
I love Brass Against’s fusion of brass, rock and protest songs, and I’m excited to see what they come up with next and to see the band perform in the UK for the first time. Although I’m not sure whether the etiquette will be to sit down and respectfully enjoy their music like at the Brass Championships I played at it when I was a kid, or get up and mosh out.